By Sheri Bryant
Did you hear the buzz about the fall semester Career Expo? Wondering how 1300 students, 120 industry professionals, 80 educators and 30 volunteers made that happen? These connections continue well after the event! Meet the Work-Based Learning Team, Jeffco Career Links! With one administrator and two specialists, we provide those services to a district of 80,000+ students, with a primary focus in the secondary levels.
But let’s take a closer look at who really does that career-connected learning in Jeffco Public Schools. This collaborative effort started with a vision for students to have authentic engagement with community and industry professionals. Our team seeks out those key partners by elevating the work of teachers, administrators and counselors. Whether that is making a cold call, sending an introductory email or attending a community event or chamber of commerce meeting, we know that when educators and school staff open their minds to what is possible, that is where the true magic can begin. Think about students in classrooms who no longer have to “imagine you are a…”, because industry experts from throughout our community are giving their knowledge and expertise so students can hear first-hand about those career cluster opportunities in business, agriculture, energy and natural resources, STEM and IT, hospitality, human services and education, health sciences, criminal justice and public safety, and skilled trades and technical sciences. Work-based learning experiences can occur in all grade levels, whether it's a Kindergarten class learning about careers, a middle school STEM class designing a city planning project, or a senior English class engaging in interviews with designated industry experts. Work-based learning is for all!
Students can engage in everything from an informational interview, job shadow, mentorship, internship, CareerWise apprenticeship, and paid work experience or on the job training. This work is vital to assisting a student in answering that age old question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” or “When will I ever use this?” Because of work-based learning (WBL) engagement, students have multiple pathways for career options that can lead them directly into the workforce, military, or any amount of college and beyond.
Recent school-based and district WBL programming include Golden Senior English Industry Interviews, McLain Job Fair and Industry Days, Standley Lake Industry Interviews, District Wide Mentorship Fair, Arvada West Informational Interviews, Arvada Capstone Pitches, Green Mountain Capstone Pitches, Dakota Ridge STEM Engineering Fair and Capstone Presentations, and Career Explore Trainings with students from Chatfield, Bear Creek, Dakota Ridge and Wheat Ridge. Next on the radar for the Career Links team are Spring Job Fairs, mentorship supports for English & Math Capstones, and programming for both students and industry on developing and growing their WBL skills.
Looking for ways to connect with our team? Check out our Jeffco Career Links website at: https://www.jeffcopublicschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627965&pageId=6121129
We look forward to collaborating with you on how to begin the career-connected conversation in your classroom and beyond!
Curriculum & Instruction